While touring the Joslyn Art Museum, I stopped at a particular painting. It seemed to be a simple painting and I almost walked by it without giving it a second thought.
But then I went back. Staring back at me was a portrait of a man wearing a black coat. A white shirt was sticking out at the collar and around his wrists. In his left hand was a long wooden staff, maybe a walking stick. From under a small black cap, his gray hair stuck out, covering his ears. Hair of the same color covered his chin and lip in a fancy goatee. He seemed of importance, yet humble. Maybe his life had been good but had presented some challenges.
Someone painted this portrait for him. Maybe he paid the artist for the work. Now it sits in a museum in Omaha, Nebraska. The person forever immortalized, hanging on a wall for visitors to gaze and wonder what became of him. One picture representing an entire life of a man.
Near the portrait was a description of the man, and a summary of his life. Next to that was a pretty lengthy bio on the artist. The name of painter was Rembrandt Van Rijn. Maybe you’ve heard of him? He was acknowledged as one of the most distinguished portraitists in European art. His ability to paint images that revealed the character of the sitter was impressive. Capturing emotions, gestures and expressions made him very popular.
With his success, he was able to teach a number of students in his studio. People came from all over to learn from the best. Can you imagine, learning a craft to create such a legacy for a client. Painting one portrait, that would hang on a wall in a home. An image, embodying the life and essence of the person in the picture. For many this wasn’t even an option and so in the scope of things, it was rare that one would ever have the chance to be remembered in this medium.
Fast forward to today. With the snap of phone camera, a person can post a picture on the internet that is instantly shared and liked by one to three hundred people. If they are lucky, it could go viral. This means thousands of people will see or share this picture instantaneously. One second of a persons life and then it’s gone.
Until the next one… because that’s what we do now.
Instead of one picture for a lifetime, we now have a lifetime of pictures. Our camera rolls, news feeds and timelines are full of photo upon photo. What does that have to do with Cosmetology? Our work can literally be broadcast in a multitude of formats to thousands of people. In an instant, we can be seen, our craft validated by the click of a button. The images can be traced back to us, a voice heard in all the online noise. Much like in the Dr. Suess book, Horton Hears a Who: “We are here, we are here!”
The power of a picture, with the fuel of the internet can put you in the spotlight as frequently as you can hit the post button.
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